We may have just a few short weeks before Microsoft can finally and officially close the deal to buy game publisher Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. However, that won't stop the US Federal Trade Commission from trying to contest the purchase.
Bloomberg reports that the FTC will launch its own in-house trial against Microsoft trying to acquire Activision Blizzard. The regulatory agency previously paused plans for the trial in July after a federal judge and an appeals court rejected the FTC's request to put a preliminary injunction on Microsoft to keep it from closing this deal.
According to the FTC filings, "The evidentiary hearing will commence 21 days after the issuance of the district court's decision in FTC v. Microsoft." However, even if that court decision happened today, the hearing would commence after the current October 18 deadline for Microsoft to close the deal to buy Activision Blizzard.
However, it does appear that the FTC will make an attempt to unwind any deal closing after the fact starting with this in-house hearing.
In response to the FTC's decision to restart its fight with Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, Lulu Cheng Meservey, Activision Blizzard's CCO and EVP, posted a somewhat snarky message on X (formerly Twitter). She stated, "How the FTC uses limited taxpayer resources is their decision."
In response to questions about this: we’re focused on working with Microsoft toward closing.— Lulu Cheng Meservey (@lulumeservey) September 27, 2023
How the FTC uses limited taxpayer resources is their decision. https://t.co/4NTulgQeBA
Ultimately, all eyes are now on the UK Competition and Markets Authority. The CMA gave its provisional approval to the deal earlier this month after Microsoft offered to give cloud gaming rights to current and future Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft for 15 years. The CMA may give its full and final approval to the deal in early October, which will allow Microsoft to close on Activision Blizzard before their October 18 deadline.